The Navy captain who was removed from his post after ringing alarm bells about a COVID-19 outbreak on board his ship will not get his job back, according to several reports on the conclusions of an investigation.
Capt. Brett Crozier became a hero for some after an alarming letter he wrote, which warned higher-ups about the spread of COVID-19 on the U.S.S. Roosevelt, was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Multiple outlets reported Friday that the Navy had concluded Crozier shouldn’t get his job back as the Roosevelt’s commander. This despite reports that the Navy recommended the opposite — that Crozier be reinstated — in late April.
In the wake of Crozier’s letter leaking publicly, in March, most of the Roosevelt’s sailors were allowed to disembark in Guam. But for all his trouble, Crozier was removed from command.
A convoluted process followed: Then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly complained that Crozier could have simply “walked down the hall” rather than write a letter about his concerns. But soon, Modly himself was moved to resign — after audio surfaced of him calling Crozier “too naïve or too stupid” to command the ship.
Then, video showed sailors on the Roosevelt giving Crozier a standing ovation as he left his command. A few days later, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that he would be open to reinstating Crozier atop the Roosevelt, subject to the findings of an investigation.
In late April, that almost came to pass: Rumors swirled that Crozier’s command would be reinstated. But an expected press conference announcing the news failed to materialize.
Instead, the new acting Navy secretary, James McPherson, said he had more “unanswered questions” that could only be resolved with “a deeper review.”
So it went. On Friday, that deeper review appears to have ended without any good news for Crozier.
The investigation also reportedly affected Crozier’s superior, the commander of Carrier Strike Group 9, Read Adm. Stuart Baker.
The Times reported in April that Baker and Crozier disagreed about how to deal with the outbreak: While Crozier wanted to evacuate and quarantine the crew, Baker said less drastic measures could address the virus and leave the ship operational.